As holiday memories go, Easter’s vague.
I can’t find many pictures.
I found a few in my Easter’s Best getups, but none around the table or laughing it up with family.
Maybe you’re not supposed to take pictures on the day of Jesus’s resurrection, maybe just on his birthday. Although, coming back from the dead seems like a real reason to get the party started. Maybe there aren’t many pictures because we didn’t celebrate Easter with extended family. Maybe because there was no music, no alcohol. Maybe because I hated most of the desserts: ricotta and rice pies. What kid wants to eat a pie made out of rice and cheese?
I have a few Polaroids, but mostly snapshots in my mind.
Like the time I woke extra early in search of my basket. The house was dark but my father was up and seated at the kitchen table.
” Wow,” I thought. “He’s just as excited for the Easter Bunny as I am.”
He had a glass from the cabinet filled with apple juice. I asked for a sip.
“Sure, “ he said. He laughed a hard “haaa.” The kind of “haaa” that causes one to spread his mouth wide. The kind of “haaa” where spit spins and gargles far back in your throat.
He slid his glass in my direction and I took a gulp. My throat burned and my head spun.
This was juice from another fruit. My father didn’t get up early to catch a glimpse of the Easter Bunny. He was just getting in.
Now I was too buzzed to ever find my candy.
One year, I was particularly proud of my Easter Attire.
For a while I was on a real purple kick. I had purple barretts, purple corduroy knickers, purple jellies, purple My Little Ponies. I loved Prince, and purple rain, and raspberry berets.
My infatuation with purple started with my older sister’s infatuation with purple. She moved out of our room, claiming I was too messy. My mother gave her a room in the basement, equipped with purple walls, purple carpet, and a purple bedspread. She had a desk that converted into a makeup table. You could lift the top and purple makeup appeared, purple lipstick and an array of purple eyeshadows. She was so cool and I wanted to be just like her.
That Easter I wore a long-sleeved lavender dress, bibbed-front, a white fur coat and muff to match, white tights and patent-leather shoes, my mullet freshly feathered.
“I look good,” I thought. “My sister will think so, too.”
I walked down our driveway and slid on a patch of ice. I fell forward, tore my stockings, scraped my hands on the pavement. When I stood up, my knees were bloody. My mother said we didn’t have time for me to change. We had to get to mass.
“Jesus knows what it’s like to bleed,” I thought. “He understands my pain.”
I was angry with my mother but I suddenly felt a simpatico with God. I was bleeding, after all. That had to make me look more holy than the rest of them.
One Easter, my oldest sister’s boyfriend stopped by the house to give her a basket. His family was wealthy. His father owned a flower shop and a restaurant. All the cumpies hung out there. My father would take me there for dinner, sometimes. I always ordered white fish in butter sauce and sucked on lemon wedges as his friends stopped by our table.
“Hey, what’s up cumpy?”
“Hey, what’s happening Blackie, Inky, Steps and Pie?”
None of my father’s friends had real names. My father didn’t have a real name, either. They called him Zoot after the zoot suits his father wore. They called my father’s brother Junior. Junior and Zoot called their father Shorts. Shorts called my father, Zoot, Louie, but his real name is Dominic.
So my sister’s rich boyfriend came by the house Easter morning and hands her the most glorious basket filled with gourmet chocolates and jelly beans, a huge solid bunny, and a chocolate cross. Even the basket was made of chocolate, handle and all.
My pink wicker basket from Thrift Drug didn’t look so hot, anymore. Neither did my Barbie Doll, my Big League Chew Gum or my candy cigarettes. “Screw this,”I thought. “The Easter Bunny Blows.” My sister’s boyfriend did a way better job than he ever did. My sister’s boyfriend’s name was Paul. His mother’s name was Bunny.
These days, we don’t get dressed-up for Easter. We don’t go to church. It’s been years since anyone has made rice or ricotta pies. My father goes by his given name, full time now. My daughter says she doesn’t believe in God and my son blames it on the emo bands she listens to. He’s nine. He believes in God and the Easter bunny.
“Mama, I know no one believes me but I saw the Easter Bunny walk up our street the other day.”
“I believe you,” I say. “What did he look like?”
“Well, he was six feet five, taller than dad. He had white fur and a wicker basket like the one for your tomatoes.” “Do you believe me, mama?”
“Of course I do, the Easter Bunny is real.”
He says, “I know, I just wish I had a picture to prove it.”